Trevor Mbakwe's return from a knee injury has received plenty of attention and is considered the key to Minnesota's hopes of returning to the NCAA tournament this year.
The Golden Gophers will likely need a little Mo-mentum from a less heralded comeback to get there as well.
Big man Maurice Walker will play his first meaningful game since 2010 on Friday night when Minnesota opens the non-conference season against American. He tore the PCL and meniscus in his right knee as a freshman, then missed all of last season as well while dealing with complications from the injury.
The 295-pounder's presence is expected to add some serious bulk and muscle to a frontcourt that severely lacked both with Walker and Mbakwe out last season. Ralph Sampson III graduated as one of the most criticized players in the program's history, with fans frustrated by his seeming unwillingness to assert himself down low. And freshman Elliott Eliason gave plenty of effort, but the talent and ex...